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Shopping aisle. Prices for food, gasoline and housing have shot up recently, adding to Americans' unease about the economy. Source: Free for commercial use.

Are You Better Off Than A Year Ago? By 4-To-1, Americans Say ‘No’ — I&I/TIPP Poll

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Are you better off today under President Joe Biden than you were a year earlier? And are you financially prepared for a downturn in the economy or a job loss? The March I&I/TIPP Poll suggests most Americans would answer “no” to both of those questions.

The poll asked: “Generally speaking, is your family better off today than it was one year ago, worse off than it was one year ago, or about the same as it was a year ago?”

Fewer than one in five (20%) said they were “better off.” while more than twice that number — 42% — said they were “worse off.” Another 36% said they were “about the same.”

Taken as a whole, that means 78% of Americans have seen no progress or improvement at all in their financial and economic lives since Biden took over in early 2020.

Despite this, Biden’s recent speeches have included references to the “best economic growth in the last four decades.”

“We did it alone. Without one single solitary Republican vote,” he said in Philadelphia on March 11, speaking to House Democrats. “It was the Democrats — it was you — that brought us back.”

If that’s the message, Americans don’t seem to be buying it. And a big reason for that is likely the sudden scary surge in inflation, which hits low- and middle-class Americans hardest of all.

While wage gains have averaged 5% or higher for four straight months, unfortunately, inflation during the same period has surged by an annual rate of over 7%, and looks likely to go even higher.

Americans, it seems, are feeling the pinch of Bidenomics. They can’t keep up, despite all the “stimulus” — or perhaps, because of it.

In the same poll, I&I/TIPP also asked Americans, “How much does your household have in emergency savings — that is, money that is readily available in either a checking, savings or money-market account?”

Respondents were given eight possible responses: “No emergency savings,” “One month’s expenses,” “Two months’ expenses,” “Three months’ expenses,” “Four months’ expenses,” “Five months’ expenses,” “Six months’ expenses or more,” and “Not sure.”

Sadly, the biggest category by far was “No emergency savings,” at 34%. Both “One month’s” and “Two months’ ” garnered 11% each.

So 56% of all Americans, over half of the population, have either no savings or barely enough to last two months, should economic trouble occur. For most, that means they are one job loss or personal injury away from economic disaster.

Only 16% of respondents said they had financial resources for three to five months. And just 16% responded they had enough stashed to last for six months or more. Another 11% said they “weren’t sure,” perhaps the most worrisome response of all.

This, after the federal government has spent $6 trillion on COVID recovery and passed another $1.5 trillion in spending for the coming year, while the Federal Reserve printed an estimated $16.5 trillion in new cash and checking deposits since the start of the pandemic.

Despite all this activity and booster rhetoric from Democrats, Americans have given Biden’s economic performance failing grades in recent polls.

“Biden now sports the lowest net economic rating of any president at this point through their first term since at least Jimmy Carter in 1977,” CNN noted late last year, citing its own CNN/SRSS Poll.

If anything, with the stock market’s plunge, continued soaring inflation and growing shortages in supermarkets, confidence in Bidenomics has grown worse in recent weeks, prompting even Democrats to criticize the president’s policies.

The latest I&I/TIPP Poll was conducted online from March 2-4 with responses from 1,318 adults nationwide. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 2.8 percentage points.

Each month, I&I/TIPP provides timely, relevant and informative data from our monthly polls on this topic and others of major interest to Americans. TIPP has earned a reputation for excellence by being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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Terry Jones

Terry Jones was part of Investor's Business Daily from its inception in 1983, working in a variety of posts, including reporter, economics correspondent, National Issues editor and economics editor. Most recently, from 1996 to 2019, he served as associate editor of the newspaper and deputy editor and editor of IBD's Issues & Insights. His many media appearances include spots on the Larry Kudlow, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Glenn Beck shows. He also served as Free Markets columnist for Townhall Magazine, and as a weekly guest on PJTV’s The Front Page. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA, and is an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute

1 comment

  • I worked hard to get myself into the 16% than can ride out a long economic downturn or emergency expenses. It is a great feeling to help out or hire others when times are tough. When you boost your own finances, you can help others. Better than relying on government, which is inherently unreliable.

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